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Joc Pederson starts in center field for Dodgers

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers still have decisions to make as to who will start in both center field and second base in October, but after the next week or two things will be sorted out in both positions. Joc Pederson makes his first major league start since Aug. 18 in Wednesday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks.

“I’m excited to see him back in there. He’s worked really hard to get back. [His demotion to Triple-A] wasn’t any type of wake-up call or any punishment,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It was more of trying to get him back on track, to give him a blow, get him away from things. Hopefully we’ll get those quality at-bats.”

Pederson was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City after two weeks in the minors, following a 2-for-41 slump in the majors. Roberts wants to see more of the form that saw Pederson hitting .248/.359/.481 before his slump started.

Starting lineups

Pos D-backs Pos Dodgers
Pos D-backs Pos Dodgers
LF Peralta (L) SS Taylor
C Iannetta LF Granderson (L)
3B Lamb (L) 3B Turner
RF Martinez 1B Bellinger (L)
1B Descalso (L) C Grandal (S)
CF Pollock RF Puig
2B Drury (L) 2B Utley (L)
SS Marte (S) CF Pederson (L)
P Walker P Maeda
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network

“We are trying to settle in on someone,” Roberts said. “What I expect for Joc is to play the defense he’s capable of playing, and putting forth the at-bats that we’ve seen in the past, and being an integral part of what we’re doing this year.

“For me it’s contingent upon the defensive quality and at-bat quality, and not even results. If the quality is there, the results will come. I want to see good at-bats.”

Roberts said Alex Verdugo will also likely get two starts in the series against the Rockies.

At second base, Logan Forsythe is locked in as the starter against lefties, against whom he is hitting .301/.443/.447 this season. Against right-handers though, Forsythe is hitting .194/.317/.249. After hitting 37 total home runs the last two seasons, he has four home runs in 2017.

“Against left-handed pitching, he’s right where he needs to be. The defensive importance of what he does for us — securing the double play, the range factor — that has a lot of importance in the middle of the field,” Robert said. “The on-base against right-handers is certainly respectable, but the slug is not where we’ve seen it.”

Chase Utley starts at second base against right-hander Taijuan Walker on Wednesday night. He’s hitting .238/.317/.391 against right-handers this season.

Roberts said he is taking everything into consideration, including Chris Taylor and Austin Barnes at second base, though at least for now Taylor is more likely to play outfield, especially once Corey Seager returns to shortstop on Friday, his target date.

“We’re not at that point where we’re going to consider playing Taylor at second base. We know he can play second base,” Roberts said. “Austin can play second base. He hasn’t had a lot of repetition there. I’ve used him there mostly in double switches. We’re getting to a point where we need to hone in on some consistency, but everything should warrant a consideration.

“I’m not set on any decision right now at second base.”